Stairs removed at the base of Hamilton's Webster Falls
The 60-year-old stairs will eventually be replaced
A set of narrow, 60-year-old stairs at the base of Webster Falls have been removed due to safety reasons.
The Hamilton Conservation Authority announced the removal of the stairs Friday via its website.
While the stairs — made of steel, stone and wood — were closed and fenced off in 2012, visitors to the area were still able to access them by climbing over the fence or walking through the water.
"By removing the stairs entirely, access will no longer be possible to the bottom of the gorge by this method," an online statement reads.
The conservation authority said it intends to replace the stairs and is currently working on designs which feature viewing platforms and photography areas. While a timeline has not been given, the replacement was identified as "a high priority" for conservation authority staff and the community.
Victim of its own popularity
Earlier this month, officials from the Hamilton Conservation Authority announced an increase in admission fees to popular waterfall sites across the city.
Just in time for the May long weekend, visitors to Webster Falls and Tews Falls were asked to pay $10 to park and $5 per person to visit. The increase is an attempt to control the amount of traffic these popular attractions receive.
Due to the large number of visitors to the gorge, the natural area was being damaged by people climbing up the embankments and walking under the falls, the authority said. People were also putting themselves at risk in the process, the authority added.